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What Is An Anovulatory Cycle, What Causes It And How To Prevent It?

When women are young, they are taught that once a month, in addition to having a period, they will also ovulate. This general truth is usually presented as an absolute fact.  Optimally, your reproductive system will ovulate each month,  but there are times when it doesn’t ovulate as it should.  The following information will explain to you exactly what anovulation  is, what causes it, and what can be done to diagnose and treat an anovulatory cycle.

Anovulatory Cycle – What Is It and What Causes It?

Quite simply, an anovulatory cycle occurs when a woman skips ovulation. If a woman is not tracking her ovulation, she may not even know it has happened. When anovulation takes place, most women will appear to menstruate as normal, but ovulation will not occur. During the early and late years of menstruation, this is a common occurrence. In these instances, a woman’s body is changing drastically and anovulatory cycles will happen quite often. If a woman is in her prime, it is common to have the odd cycle without ovulation. The trouble occurs when anovulation is a common theme in a woman’s life.

Common, easily regulated causes for anovulatory cycles are stress, overexertion, and eating habits. When women are over or underweight, their bodies will react differently to hormonal changes as they occur. A vigorous exercise program or extremely active lifestyle can affect hormones and thus ovulation and fertility. For example, a lot of gymnasts and ballerinas will experience anovulatory cycles quite often. When women use “The Pill” or “The Shot”, they are chemically imitating anovulation. Over an extended period of time, the use of these drugs can negatively affect the function of your reproductive organs.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Anovulation

There are women who do not menstruate (amenorrhea) or have extremely irregular periods (oligomenorrhea). In this case, anovulation is easy to spot. For the majority of women, detecting anovulatory cycles can be difficult. A doctor can test for several factors that may indicate a woman is experiencing irregular ovulation. Testing progesterone levels, the endometrial lining, and testing for the presence of specific antibodies, will help a physician to diagnose anovulation.

Treatment of anovulatory cycles will depend greatly on the findings of the administered tests. If it is decided that the causes are natural or stemming from outside influence, natural remedies will be prescribed. These include regulating eating habits and other methods that we have already discussed. If the cause of anovulation is decided to stem from internal imbalances, there is no need to worry. There are several fertility boosters that can combat a varied set of factors. These may include drugs designed to increase estrogen, ripen the follicles, or to help a woman release her egg when she is supposed to ovulate. The most drastic and last scenario a woman may encounter would be surgery. Normally this will only take place if she is found to have tumors.


If you or someone you know is experiencing regular bouts of anovulation, heed the advice above. The first thing you should do is try to make small changes to the things you can control. Eat healthier, exercise without over doing it, and try to make time for relaxation and stress relief. If these methods don’t help, you should seek the help of a professional. Your doctor can run some tests to figure out the causes of irregular ovulation and find a solution suited to your circumstances that will help you avoid an anovulatory cycle.

  • Ashley

    This sucks I’m never gonna be able to get pregnant :(

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    If you aren’t ovulating, it will be difficult. Having said that, there are many different treatments out there that can help your body get on track and ovulate regularly. There are herbs and more traditional medical interventions like clomid.

  • Candice

    Vickie B. What type of herbal meds can u take to help ovulation? Im taking vitex now?

  • Rebecca Jane Love

    I have polycystic ovaries an suffer from anovolotary menstruation, is there nothing at all I can do? I have done everything the docs/ professional s have said , lost weight, stopped smoking, changed my lifestyle & still nothing is there light at the end of tunnel or am I just chasing a pipe dream? I have been with my partner 10yrs & we married 5 months ago, is it time to give up?????

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    Have you tried Pregnitude? http://www.babyhopes.com/pregnitude.html The studies have been promising for women with PCOS. You should visit that page and scroll down for the medical studies that investigated the effects of myo-inositol (the main ingredient of Pregnitude) for sufferers of PCOS.

  • love

    Clomid worked for me.i had my first baby after taking clomid, and 2 kids with out meds.

  • Kitty

    Been using Clearblue Advanced OPK, and normally I get my LH surge right on C14 with no estrogen surge (Advanced detects the pre-LH estrogen surge). This month I got an estrogen surge C12 but no LH surge, and my period came 3 days early. I am 27 with endometriosis and one ovary left. In 5 months TTC this is my first anovulatory cycle. It has been 2 years since my lapascopy and 7 months since I stopped hormonal therapy. I am concerned about suspected growths. Should I see my doc over this or give it a few more cycles to see if anovulation happens again? Thanks!

  • Katy

    Hi I don’t have any advice for you, but on the advanced test how do you tell if you are having estrogen surge without lh surge, I have been using them recently not trying to conceive, but trying to figure out my messed up menstral cycle x

  • elizabeth

    trying to get pregnant but have an inconsistence ovulating pattern. what can i do

Last modified: March 7, 2014

The information provided here should not be considered medical advice. It is based on the average experience of women trying to conceive and may not be what you may be experiencing. It's not meant to be a replacement for any advice you may receive from your doctor. If you have any concerns about your cycle or our ability to get pregnant, we advise you to contact your doctor.